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DH has an interrupting/attention-seeking problem and it's getting bad with the DC

(58 Posts)
yourlastwords Sun 20-Mar-16 18:20:50

This is a real hard one to explain but it's becoming a bit of a problem. I have DC of 4yo and 13mo. 4yo is learning to read and has games that she plays on her own, and 13mo is learning to walk and talk. They both have little repetitive routines and processes that they are familiar with and they enjoy, e.g. 4yo likes to read certain books to herself and likes to get to the end and clap. And 13mo likes it when I count and sing songs with him. I know that DH knows about these things in theory, as he tells other people about them, but he cannot seem to recognise where their attention is and when. I'll give you a few examples:

I will be counting to ten with 13mo and he'll be repeating some of the numbers after me, fully engaged, and DH will shout 13mo's name from across the room repeatedly, over my voice, trying to get his attention for no reason, but just to distract him from counting. He can't wait until we've got to ten. If 13mo is taking some tentative steps, making his way over to pick up a toy or to get to a sofa (I will have said "where's your train?" and 13mo will be walking slowly and pointing at the train ahead of him), DH will swoop in and grab him and throw him up in the air before he's got to the train, and 13mo will start crying because his plan has been uncontrollably scuppered.

We went to the seaside last week and 13mo was saying the words he knows to do with water and animals and pointing at them. I was saying "yes! well done, and what's that?" 13mo thinks about it and starts to say the word but is distracted by DH waving in front of his face and saying his name because he has some ice cream on his finger that he wants 13mo to lick off.

If 4yo is reading her book and is obviously engrossed and halfway through, DH will launch from across the room with another book and start reading it very loudly to her. If she says no Daddy, and pushes him away, he will think she is play fighting and grab her and fake wrestle with her, lifting her off the ground, the half read book falling to the floor and she will start crying too.

I sing songs from tapes with both DC together and we can be in the middle of a song and he will come over and jump on me and try and play fight with me and put his hand over my mouth to stop me singing and shout something like "Mummy attack!" So the tape is left playing with the music and they just look a bit confused. They don't find it funny because for them it has interrupted a process and is rather random, whereas I suppose if he made it more of a process in itself - like a game he played with them - or "his thing," they would probably find it fun.

It would be fair enough if he had some other plan of something to do with them or something to say to them or teach them when he gets their attention, but he doesn't. He fundamentally can't seem to observe what they're doing and work out what he could do to enhance the experience they are already having. He can only impose on them in some other random, fleeting and unrelated way which takes their attention for a few seconds. It's mainly just calling their name repeatedly to distract them enough from what they're doing that they can't go back to it. If they do respond to him and go up to him, he has nothing to say and nothing to give them. There's never a "new" game. He just wanted to call their name and get their attention.

He is like this with everyone, but most adults are good at handling it or just ignore him. His mother, sister and brother are exactly the same too. On the occasions that I have brought it up, he will take the incident as isolated and he will say "but I wanted to read her a book, what's wrong with that?" Or "I saw you from across the room and just wanted to hug you tight."

Of course, all these things isolated are fine in themselves, but when it happens so often and so repeatedly, especially when he is in the house and not at work and needs so much attention all the time, we can barely get through any routine without DH distracting heavily from it.

I'm not sure if he's just a childish, attention-seeking arsehole, or whether he has some other issue? What do you think?

Shakey15000 Sun 20-Mar-16 18:24:13

Sounds like relentless hard work to me
Is he aware it's annoying?

winchester1 Sun 20-Mar-16 18:25:31

Does he do it at work?

If he can control his behaviour at work then I think he is just being an arsehole even if unintentionally and needs to be told everytime to stop.

G1raffe Sun 20-Mar-16 18:25:36

I have no idea but it sounds incredibly difficult. How was he prekids and when you were dating?

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 20-Mar-16 18:27:17

Wow annoying!

Can you just say "hang on kids Daddy is being rude and interrupting again!"

You need to give him some games to play - something the older one will like and maybe ball game for the younger one - not interrupt yours - or you could help him join in

BubblingUp Sun 20-Mar-16 18:28:44

ADHD? Lack of impulse control?

LaContessaDiPlump Sun 20-Mar-16 18:29:04

I wouldn't be able to live with someone who deliberately made my kids fail at whatever they're trying to achieve. Whether he means it maliciously or not it is still unacceptable and very unfair on your DC.

If DH interrupted me doing something interesting by saying he just wanted to hug me tight then I'd think there was something wrong with him tbh grin

P1nkP0ppy Sun 20-Mar-16 18:33:09

I'd tell him to butt out, he's an immature prat.

gatewalker Sun 20-Mar-16 18:33:09

He's regressing in those moments, and in a jealous rivalry with your DC for your attention. In other words, to him you become his mother when your attention is anywhere other than on him. It will be unconscious, but that's absolutely no excuse. I'd not stand for it and would suggest he got some help.

DoreenLethal Sun 20-Mar-16 18:36:17

I would have punched him in the face at the first launch with his hands over my mouth. What a fuckwit.

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 20-Mar-16 18:36:24

Hmm. I think you will need to draw attention to the fact that he is attention-seeking, each time he does it

If his attention - seeking is in any way linked to low self-esteem, this will shame him hugely, though, and then you might have an emotional outburst on your hands instead. Doesn't mean that you are wrong to point out a problematic behaviour

BertieBotts Sun 20-Mar-16 18:37:29

Maybe he has ADHD. It runs in families so his family might all have it too.

Then again, he'd have other symptoms, it wouldn't just be that. Is he disorganised, forgetful, messy, always late, an erratic driver, restless, intolerant of waiting, always starting projects but not finishing them, fidgety, or easily distracted? (It wouldn't have to be everything on that list but several things, not occasionally, to a level like you mention in the OP.)

FannyFifer Sun 20-Mar-16 18:39:09

Bloody hell, I could not tolerate that shit at all, wrestling you, wtf.

Phineyj Sun 20-Mar-16 18:40:41

Did he do this pre DC - would he interrupt you rudely if you had a friend round and were chatting, for instance? My friend's FIL behaves like this with his GC - it is very stressful and irritating for everyone, but at least it is restricted to visits, not all the time. I'd be considering Relate, plus video of what he is doing if you think he is really unaware (and if this is post DC behaviour).

Moreisnnogedag Sun 20-Mar-16 18:41:27

Well I was irritated just reading that. As above I've often found that people who say they can't control xyz habit somehow magically manage to do just that at work/with strangers. It makes them an arse.

Belikethat Sun 20-Mar-16 18:45:09

Omg how irritating!

I also thought ADHD especially when you said he can't wait till you get to 10 (ds exactly the same but only a child.) Surely you would have noticed his constant interrupting pre children though?

Or is he just plain stupid/unthinking/ extremely childish?

Jw35 Sun 20-Mar-16 18:47:28

If it's not adhd he's an annoying prick, but either way bloody hard work! I think you need to put your foot down about it every time

SmallLegsOrSmallEggs Sun 20-Mar-16 18:47:44

Even if people can co trol.things at work so.etimes they cannot in a safe space. E.g. my kids are well.beha ed at school and then often lose it at home.

I suspe t this is some kind of behavioural issue. As pp said maybe a jealousy thing. Sounds like some kind ofi tervention is required but not sure what. Relate? Parenting classes?

Hassled Sun 20-Mar-16 18:48:50

That does sound unbelievably irritating. I just do not have the patience to be able to tolerate that sort of thing. My instinct is that yes, he's just a childish, attention-seeking arsehole - but I'm assuming he's not like this all the time and want to find away to stop this behaviour, rather than LTBing.

You say "on the occasions that I have brought it up..." which implies you're not bringing it up each and every time, which is what I think you need to do. Just call him on it - "Bob, we're reading a book/Bob, you're interrupting/Bob, X wanted to walk to the train/Bob, we're enjoying singing together" etc. Don't feel the need to be polite, because he's not being polite - he's making it all about him.

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Sun 20-Mar-16 18:51:04

Pp has hit the nail on the head- he's competing for your attention. He's turning into child number 3 when he does it. How attractive hmm

Roussette Sun 20-Mar-16 18:54:57

Bloody hell I could not stand that.

Don't wait and bring up isolated incidents after the event. At the time, slowly and calmly say "DH stop now, DC1 is doing blah blah". Tell him that every time you ask him to STOP interrupting, he really must.

He does sound very irritating TBH and sounds like he is jealous of the attention your DC are getting from you.

lorelei9 Sun 20-Mar-16 18:56:36

my first thought was work too - how does he manage then? How old is he? I'm asking because if you're going to say he's really young, I then wonder if he's been in the workplace a short time so not yet got into trouble.

if he does this in other aspects of life I don't know how you put up with him - but why would he stop the children from learning?

also, what happens when he sits down with the children for counting or reading? Does he interrupt himself by switching them to another activity? I bet he doesn't.

HazyMazy Sun 20-Mar-16 19:08:47

I thought it sounds like he can't see DCs achieve things.
And I thought what happened in his childhood that he feels they mustn't advance, appear clever.

But I could be wrong.

goddessofsmallthings Sun 20-Mar-16 19:14:15

I initially inclined to the view that it's the former and he can't bear to be left out of anything, but it would seem the underlying issue that compels him to behave in this inappropriate manner with other adults as well as your dc could either be learned behaviour from his dps,.or a form of AS which has afflicted them as well as his siblings.

As you're obviously alert to him disrupting your activities with the dc as well as their own, have you tried saying 'Stop' in a loud voice before he launches himself across a room, wags an ice-cream coated finger in front of them, etc?

FixItUpChappie Sun 20-Mar-16 19:20:07

You say he's like this with does it manifest itself with adults?

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